Subhāsita Sutta | Sn III-3


3. Subhāsita Sutta

Well-spoken Speech

Thus I have heard:

On one occasion the Buddha was in residence in Jetavana Monastery built by Anāthapiṇḍika, the rich householder in Sāvatthi.

Then the Buddha addressed the Bhikkhu’s: O Bhikkhu’s

and the Bhikkhu s responded: Venerable Sir (and awaited the Buddha's words).

Now the Buddha made the following discourse:

O Bhikkhus, there are 4 qualities that make a well-spoken speech:

Such a speech can never be an ill-spoken speech, an improper speech, and not reprehensible on the part of the wise.

Now, what are the 4 qualities?

O Bhikkhus, under my Teaching, a Bhikkhu speaks only words that are proper and fitting, and does not speak words improper or unbecoming.

He never speaks words improper or unbecoming.

He speaks only words that are in accordance with righteousness (Dhamma) and not words that are at variance with the Dhamma.

He speaks only words that are sweet to the bearer, and not words that are jarring.

He speaks only the truth and not falsehood.

O Bhikkhus, these 4 qualities make a well-spoken speech. They never make an ill-spoken, faulty and reprehensible speech.

Thus the Buddha said.

Then the Buddha continued as follows:-

452.Propriety in what is being said, that's the 1st quality according to the wise;

what is in accord with the Dhamma and not that which deviates from the Dhamma this the 2nd quality;

sweet to the hearer but never a jarring word that's the 3rd quality;

truth only, never a falsehood, this the 4th quality.

(Thus said the Buddha). (1)

Then the Venerable Vaṅgīsa arose from his place and placing the upper robe on his left shoulder, as a token of veneration while standing before the Buddha, and in worshipping posture, addressed the Buddha:

O Buddha, I see, O Buddha, I see.

Vaṅgīsa, tell how you see it, the Buddha said.

Thereupon the venerable Vaṅgīsa eulogised the Buddha in the following appropriate stanzas:

453. That which does not distress oneself, nor does the other, that sort of speech should be spoken, that is a well-spoken speech. (2)

454. That which is gratifying and welcome, that which does not carry any wickedness but which is sweet to hear, that sort of sweet speech should be spoken. (3)

455. A truthful word is like the elixir of life, truthfulness is a practice of yore. This is the wise man's stand, to stick to the truth both in consequence and in cause (Dhamma). (4)

456. The Buddha speaks words that lead to Nibbāna, for the cessation of all ill (dukkha).His words only bring well-being. Supreme indeed are the Buddha's words.

(Thus the Venerable Vaṅgīsa said). (5)

End of the Third Subhāsita Sutta